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Arch Grants winners set for debut

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: A mobile coupon service for smartphones, a boring bit company and a digital marketing tool for restaurants are among 20 winners of the second annual Arch Grants competition.

“We’re thrilled with the quality of these young companies. They keep and bring a lot of talent to St. Louis,” said Jerry Schlichter, president and co-founder of the group. “We believe going forward, they are going to put us on the map as a great place for entrepreneurs.”

Selected from more than 700 applications, the lucky companies will receive $50,000 grants, low-cost office space, business mentors and a wide array of free legal, accounting and cloud computing services.

Last year’s competition had 15 winners sharing $750,000. This time around, the victors will split an even million.

A majority of this year’s group was local, but eight out-of-town enterprises were among those chosen, including two foreign ventures, both from Israel, as well as companies in the United States from New York to California. All will relocate to St. Louis in July.

“It really establishes Arch Grants on the international map in this second year as a unique program that is attracting attention all over,” Schlichter said. “Thirty-five companies have now received grants and that is a critical mass that is catching a lot of national and international attention.”

Among those taking home grants were a number of IT and biotech enterprises. Other winning entrants included KNOWiNK, a technology to help poll workers track voters; Juristat, an analytics product that predicts judicial actions; and Triflare, a maker of athletic wear.

“These companies are a very diverse mix of technologies ranging from software to IT applications to advanced manufacturing to bioscience to medical devices to even fashion,” said Schlichter. “It’s an exciting mix.”

Schlichter said that Arch Grants was proud to help create an entrepreneurial culture in the region.

“People in St. Louis have a real desire to build a new economy here,” Schlichter said. “That’s reflected in the support of the community which the entrepreneurs have noted to be striking.”

Arch Grants’ third round competition will get underway late this year.

David Baugher
David Baugher is a freelance writer in St. Louis who contributed to several stories for the STL Beacon.

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